Antonio Stradivari "La Pucelle" 1709

This beautiful instrument, also known as the "Virgin" or "Maiden", was given its name by Vuillaume. The instrument came to him in original conditionwith its original short neck and, upon being opened, was discovered to have its original short bass-bar and all its other original internal fittings.Vuillaume was so struck by its exceptional and undisturbed condition that he declared it to be "as pure as a virgin" or, in French, "comme une pucelle".The name stuck and the instrument has been known as "La Pucelle" ever since.

Through extreme good fortune this instrument -- which has no soundpost patch, no cracks, and almost all its original varnish -- is in essentiallythe same condition as it was when the Hills described it in their famous 1902 book. Charles Beare has expressed the opinion that this particularinstrument is the first of the true "Golden Period" violins and, in fact, that its existence is the reason that one must date the start of the "GoldenPeriod" to 1709. Virtually everyone that has seen the instrument recently has been struck by its extreme grace and beauty and we are assured by thepresent owner that its tone is entirely consistent with its appearance. Most experts rank the instrument among the finest half-dozen Strads in existence.

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